Winston Peters, Lloyd Burr clash in fiery AM interview

  • 18/03/2024

Winston Peters and co-host Lloyd Burr have clashed in a fiery interview on AM after the NZ First leader's controversial State of the Nation speech on Sunday.

Peters began his speech by telling the hundreds gathered at the centre about what he saw as the previous government's failings, including "racist co-governance". 

"Their (Māori) DNA made them somehow better than others - I've seen that sort of philosophy before, I saw it in Nazi Germany, we all did. We've seen it elsewhere around the world in the horrors of history," Peters said.

Appearing on AM on Monday, Peters said he was referring to comments made by Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi last year.

Te Pāti Māori's sports policy in 2022 stated: "It's a known fact that Māori genetic makeup is stronger than others". Waititi was questioned by TVNZ's Jack Tame on whether the statement was racist. Waititi disagreed saying "it's stronger in me, and I've got a whole lot of genetics in me".

"The moment you say that, unchallenged by the mainstream media, unchecked - nobody said a thing about it - you're heading down the pathway of separatism, apartheid and all the ugly business or racism and exclusivity," Peters said.

However, when questioned by AM co-host Lloyd Burr about what that has to do with his comparison of Labour's policies with Nazi Germany, as Te Pāti Māori wasn't in the last government, Peters doubled down on his comment.

"When you are saying that someone is superior in their DNA, you're saying that they're entitled to different, superior, better treatment. That's awful, it's ugly, it's horrible, and I'm disgusted in my country, the mainstream media and other politicians never called it out."

When asked again why he is pinning these comments on Labour, Peters replied "that's the pathway they went" in terms of co-governance.

Peters pointed at the previous government's Three Waters policy which would have created co-governance of water assets. Peters said all of Māoridom know water is a gift from heaven to be shared with everyone.

"It's an ugly face of modern, radical Māori elitism and the mass majority of Māori hate this, they know it's not them, and all I'm saying is we need a reality check here."

Holocaust Centre of New Zealand spokesman Ben Kepes told Newshub politicians needed to be "careful with their words" when it comes to speaking about the Holocaust or Nazi era.

Kepes said it was "a singular event in history" which should not be used for gain in other areas.

"Words are very important."

Peters later took aim at AM's introduction to the interview for calling those at yesterday's speech "party faithful", saying it was actually "over 700 hundred people in a place called Palmerston North who came out to hear a different message, and were pleased to hear it".

Burr then apologised for getting it wrong but said a lot of the attendees would have been NZ First members.

Peters responded saying it was a public meeting he called.

"Stop downsizing the astonishing thing you saw that a party has made a comeback and is getting more popular by the day," Peters said.

"What are you on about? I am not trying to downsize your meeting at all," Burr replied.

"I am sorry that I called it your 'party's faithful' when they were just members of the public."

Watch the video above.